As voice and communications technology continues to evolve offering more functionality and seamless integration between multiple locations or devices, you hear a lot about the “end of life” of your current system. This raises some questions: is the end of life of your system a real threat? How long do organizations have to migrate to newer technologies before reaching that threshold?
An interesting thing happened in the telecom industry just over 5 years ago: one of the biggest players (Nortel) disappeared while the competition shifted the focus to newer technologies, changing the entire dynamic of the offerings available to the market. Because Nortel was a giant in the marketplace, there were thousands of systems running of which the available functions just stopped evolving. This gap in the marketplace leads to the other big players in the game to campaign for the eradication of end of life equipment in an effort to drive your voice platform to the newly available technologies.
It seems that anywhere you look in the voice communications industry the push to move to the “latest and greatest” is implementing fear tactics to migrate organizations away from their current platforms. But what is the real truth when it comes to the phasing out of Nortel systems?
Before Nortel disappeared, they had successfully introduced an IP PBX solution which covered the first wave of the new voice technology available. The majority of the maintenance and upkeep for these systems fell into the hands of Avaya, whom immediately began campaigning for these businesses to leave the Nortel system and upgrade to the next generation of Avaya products. Other options were to utilize organizations that carry aftermarket parts and perform repairs or refurbishing.
Another reaction to this shift in the industry was the establishment of businesses that came in to purchase the Nortel systems once an organization chose to upgrade or switch to a platform that held manufacturer protection and maintenance – hence the abundant supply of aftermarket parts. Nortel systems are great products and the typical lifespan of the platform reaches 10, 15, or even 20 years.
So is there really an “end of life” that your organization needs to fear? Perhaps, but the immediate threat is nonexistent. For now there are enough operations in place that stock these aftermarket parts, or run repair and refurbishment labs, and can also offer maintenance agreements to keep the system protected long term. The trick is determining which of these organizations holds the most credibility. Obviously the best way to choose a legacy technology supplier or service provider is to look at how long they have been doing what they are doing, despite the pivotal shift in the industry when Nortel went away.